Trump mocks Macron again over French fuel tax protests

  • Trump mocks Macron again over French fuel tax protests

Trump mocks Macron again over French fuel tax protests

Those changes earned Macron the label "president of the rich" among the hard-pressed middle class voters and blue collar workers who criticize the president for pursuing policies that favor the wealthy and do nothing to help the poor.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced a six-month delay in the fuel tax increase, which had been set to begin in January, and a freeze on electricity and natural gas prices until May.

The French government is hoping to stave off another day of running riots and burning cars like on Saturday, when more than 400 people were arrested in the capital.

The protests began last month with motorists upset over the fuel tax hike, but have grown to encompass a range of complaints, with protesters claiming that Macron's government doesn't care about the problems of ordinary people.

"No tax merits putting the unity of the nation in danger", he said. The Arc de Triomphe was sprayed with graffiti and vandalised.

"This anger, you would have to be deaf and blind not to see it, nor hear it", Philippe said after more than a fortnight of demonstrations by so-called "yellow vest" protesters.

Since returning from the G20 summit in Argentina, Macron has either remained in his palace residence or otherwise shied away from speaking publicly about the protests, which represent his biggest political crisis since taking office last May.

Protesters wearing their signature fluorescent yellow vests kept blocking several fuel depots and, on a highway near the southern city of Aubagne, protesters took over a toll booth to let vehicles pass for free. "We're in politics so that things work out", he said.

Another self-proclaimed leader Thierry Paul Valette said that protesters were unhappy not just about the price of fuel but general discontent with economic inequality. On Tuesday night, he was booed and jeered as he traveled to a regional government headquarters that was torched by protesters last weekend. The protests have exploded into an impossible-to-ignore statement of outrage over Macron's leadership, which had a 23 percent approval rating according to a poll released Tuesday by Ifop-Fiducial for Paris Match and Sud Radio; working conditions for paramedics; school reforms; and the perception that Macron, a former investment banker, is a president for the country's elite.

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Prime Minister Édouard Philippe announced the delay of the tax increases in a speech on national television. "It's a change of course".

U.S. President Donald Trump appeared to mock Macron over the policy shift, which will make it harder for France to meet its Carbon dioxide emissions reduction target, a core element of the Paris climate agreement of 2015.

After it was clear that Macron had been defeated by the strong-arming of the violent protests, Trump tweeted that he was pleased with the outcome.

"The Paris Agreement is fatally flawed because it raises the price of energy for responsible countries while whitewashing some of the worst polluters", said Trump, referring to a global deal on the environment drafted in Paris in late 2015.

Across France, four people have been killed in accidents linked to the demonstrations and road blockades, and hundreds injured.